The ad was not the usual smiling face of some celebrity touting the company.
No dapper Dave Winfield. No perky Pam Shriver. And not even a mug of its most recent celebrity pitchman, New York Giant quarterback Phil Simms. Instead, it was a lengthy listing of the last names of the 10,000 employees at the troubled New York investment banking firm, Drexel Burnham Lambert.
The list looked more like the starting lineup for the New York Marathon. But there it was last Tuesday, spread across two newspaper pages in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Why did Drexel temporarily put Super Bowl MVP Simms on the bench for a bunch of no-names?
The company's chairman makes no bones about it. "The ad showed that our firm is not just made up of the few people who are getting a lot of press these days," said Robert E. Linton. "We did it for the morale of the employees."
Surely, Drexel's employees could use some morale boosting these days. Drexel's former mergers specialist, Dennis B. Levine, pleaded guilty in June to Securities and Exchange Commission charges that he had illegally passed insider tips along to Ivan F. Boesky, one of Wall Street's flashiest speculators. And Michael Milken, who heads Drexel's "junk bond" financing unit, is apparently at the center of an SEC investigation into insider trading and other securities law violations.
In the ad, Drexel also publicly celebrated the fact that it just reached a milestone: 10,000 employees. So it named each and every one of them--from Aanosen to Zyhailo. "The No. 1 audience we have is our own employees," said Linton. "It had to be a kick for each of them to go home and show their kids their names in the newspaper."
Ad industry executives call this "cheerleader" advertising. Indeed, if a company's image has been tarnished badly enough, it can sometimes pay off. "There's been so much bad press at Drexel," said Nelson Riddle Jr., West Coast president of DFS/Dorland Worldwide, "that all of its commitments must be to reinforce a sense of stability."
The ad, created by the New York office of the ad firm Chiat/Day, is one portion of a larger, in-house campaign to bolster morale. Besides the newspaper ads--which cost the company nearly $210,000--Drexel also passed out special posters, buttons, balloons and T-shirts to employees.
"It may not be very cost efficient," said Debby Mandelker, vice president of advertising at competing investment firm Merrill Lynch, "but it's a very powerful way to make an internal statement." Adds Donald Mitchum, West Coast president of the ad firm BBDO Worldwide: "It also reminds clients that there are real people behind the company's name."
Drexel suspended advertising for nearly a month late last year. "Our name was out in the news so much, we didn't need to advertise," said Elizabeth Tower, vice president of communications. One competitor, Joseph Bashanto, vice president of advertising at First Boston Corp., is unimpressed by the latest ad: "It looked to me like someone just copied the phone book."
Lottery Hopes to Get Lucky at New Agency
It is one of the most expensive gambles that the California State Lottery makes: choosing an advertising agency.
But with interest on the wane in the year-and-a-half-old lottery, officials last week yanked the account away from the agency that has guided it since its birth, then handed the $20-million general budget to Dailey & Associates of Los Angeles.
To executives at Rubin Postaer & Associates, the loss of the account is bittersweet. After all, the firm is largely responsible for generating the lottery's $2.5 billion in sales. "The lottery account is like Niagara Falls," said Larry Postaer, creative director. "You put your creative people in a barrel every six weeks and send them over the side." Now, he says, "it's almost a relief to let someone else ride in the barrel."
The company now riding in the barrel, Dailey & Associates, plans to steer the lottery in a new direction. The firm will focus more closely on the games themselves and make them "the hero of the commercial," said Phillip Joanou, chairman and chief executive.
Meanwhile, two other lottery ad accounts are still up for grabs. On Wednesday, officials expect to name finalists for the lottery's $6-million so-called "ethnic" account, which targets minority audiences. And in May, the lottery is scheduled to award a $5-million account for an agency to create the posters and brochures for lottery outlets.
And more ads are on the way. This fall the lottery intends to introduce yet another new game, said Susan Clark, the lottery's marketing director. "And within a another year, or so, we could have four games going at once."
Supermarket Chain to Combine Advertising
It was an unlucky day for ad firm Cochrane Chase, Livingston & Co., but not for one of the Lucky supermarket chain's two other ad agencies.
In a surprise move late last week, the Southern Food division of ailing Lucky Stores Inc. told Newport Beach-based Cochrane Chase that it was taking its $12-million ad account elsewhere. As part of a cost-cutting move, Lucky now plans to consolidate all of its advertising "under a single umbrella," said Kenneth W. Cope, vice president of corporate communications. "We simply believe that one agency will be more efficient then two."
The two prime candidates--Shelly Berman Communicators and Mojo MDA/Allen and Dorward--both now handle Lucky advertising near Lucky's headquarters in Dublin, Calif.
"The change comes as a total shock to us," said Cochrane Chase, chairman of the agency that created the phrase "Great Meals for Less" for Lucky. The firm also created a more upbeat tempo for Lucky's jingle during the 14 months it held the account.
Officials at Lucky and at its ad agencies refused to speculate on possible changes to the current campaign. Ironically, the Cochrane Chase agency was told of the change just as it was about to unveil plans for a brand new "Great Meals for Less" campaign. The move prompted one ad executive to joke that Lucky's next slogan may be, "Great Ads for Less."
Look for More Kick in the Reebok Campaigns
In the race for market share, Reebok International Ltd. is about to reposition its popular line of shoes. Reebok will dump its broad theme--"Because Life Is Not a Spectator Sport"--and replace it with a more focused look at both the quality and high fashion of its shoes, said Sharon Cohen, vice president of corporate communications at the Canton, Mass.-based firm.
"We want people to know that they can not only feel great, but also look good in our shoes," said Cohen. After all, the company's studies show that more than 80% of its shoes are not worn on tennis courts or jogging tracks, but on the street. Reebok's sales, which tripled last year, are expected to pass the $1-billion mark in 1987, Cohen said.
The new campaign, scheduled to break in July, is being created by Ammirati & Puris Inc., the New York ad firm that was awarded Reebok's $15-million athletic footwear account last week. Reebok's hottest new market: specialty shoes for women's volleyball.